Ethiopia– Ethiopia is struggling to stay afloat as the Tigray conflict and civil war reach an ominous one year landmark. As world leaders and diplomats step up efforts to bring in ceasefire in the East African country, Abiy Ahmed’s post has been removed by Facebook for “inciting and supporting violence”.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Abiy Ahmed vowed to “bury” enemies of his government as Tigrayan forces of TPLF (Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front) move closer to the capital city Addis Ababa. Ethiopian forces led by Prime Minister, winner of 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, struck war on the forces of Tigray region over non-compliance with his government in 2020. It has been a year now and the bloodshed and violence has crossed all limits forcing Tigrayan people undergo extreme humanitarian crisis, a situation labelled ‘genocide’ by global human rights bodies and United Nations Human Rights Council.
On Thursday, Facebook’s owner company Meta said that it had removed the post by Prime Minister of Ethiopia. “As the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia intensifies, we are committed to helping keep people safe and preventing online and offline harm through our platforms,” the company said. “We were made aware of a post by Ethiopia’s prime minister and removed this for violating our policies against inciting and supporting violence. At Meta we remove content from individuals or organisations that violates our community standards, no matter who they are.”
Global leaders and diplomats have intensified efforts to instigate a ceasefire in country that is witnessing exaggerated fighting in the Tigray region. On Thursday, Jeffrey Feltman, the US special envoy for the Horn of Africa, arrived in Addis Ababa to push for a ceasing military operations in region and initiate ceasefire talks. Moussa Faki Mahamat, chair of the African Union Commission, met with Feltman to discuss modus operandi to tread towards political solutions and discussions to end the conflict in Tigray. European Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an east African bloc, too have joined the global bodies calling for a ceasefire to end the Tigray crisis.
The move by Facebook depicts its drastically changed approach this year after it banned former US President Donald Trump until January 2023 at least. Facebook has come under firing line after whistleblower Frances Haugen last month claimed that the company was “literally fanning ethnic violence” in countries including Ethiopia due to lack in its efforts to police rede flagged posts and data off the social media platform for business profit.